Category Archives: Blogroll

7 Techniques For Getting Creatively Unstuck

My friend Robert Tucker over at Innovation Resource has some great tips for getting “unstuck.”  I’ll share a few of them here, and then link to his excellent article. If you solve problems for a living, you’ve probably had it happen. Just when you least expect it — and just when you need to be […]

7 Techniques For Getting Creatively Unstuck

My friend Robert Tucker over at Innovation Resource has some great tips for getting “unstuck.”  I’ll share a few of them here, and then link to his excellent article. If you solve problems for a living, you’ve probably had it happen. Just when you least expect it — and just when you need to be […]

10 indulgent US food and beverage trends for 2016

One of the areas our IE team watches is the Food and Beverage industry. The trends we’re seeing for the coming year continue to focus on health, but with a decadent spin.

FoodBevMedia has posted these trends that you may want to watch – and sample:

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 1.26.42 PM

10 indulgent US food and beverage trends for 2016

#1Avocado for days

The “good” fat in your guacamole and on your toasts will soon become your favorite cooking oil and ice cream flavor!

 

#2Juicing

Another way avocado gets into our system. With New Year’s detox and other cleanses, the juice trend is still going strong – and is the reason why Americans have been eating more fruits and vegetables lately. The great thing about juices is how creative you can get.

#3

Sugar alternatives

Demonizing sugar wasn’t a bad thing, given its “hidden” kinds, in condiments for instance, have led to dramatic increases in obesity, heart disease and cancer over the “fat-free” craze. As we get rid of sugar, sweeteners and artificial ingredients, people will go for naturally sweet foods like honey or peaches as well as sugar-free ingredients like Dijon mustard.

#4Enhanced water

Watch out, sodas! Energy, coco, cucumber or fruit-flavoured, water is making a strong comeback and is the next big market for Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

#5
Organic, low-cal wine 

You heard me. The wine trend keeps on growing, with organic, low-calorie and low alcohol wines available nationwide. Best thing about it? Lots of them are coming from top regions (France, Italy, Spain and New Zealand) at affordable prices.

Read the next 5 here.

Five Strategies for Spotting Trends First

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 1.04.17 PMDo you watch trends, or do you delegate that to someone else?  My friend Robert Tucker is encouraging managers to redouble their trend-watching capabilities in response to an ever-increasing degree of technological, social and economic change:

Here’s the good news: with a bit of focused attention, you can build skills in this area such that they become a strength rather than a vulnerability. Not only will it lead to better responsive moves, but at times, your improved capability will enable and empower you to pounce on emerging opportunities. Here are five strategies to guide you in this important arena:

  1. Audit your information diet. Start by doing a simple assessment of the various information sources – periodicals, books, reports, newspapers, email newsletters, etc. that you’re accessing. Think of this as your “information diet.” Just as when we diet, we carefully monitor our caloric intake, become more aware of your “information intake.” For the next week, monitor how much time are you spending on trivial items like Donald Trump’s latest outburst, versus how much you’re taking in that’s substantive, deeply researched and well written. Ask other leaders in your network what they’re reading, and share articles of interest. Suggestion: Make it a point to subscribe to publications rather than only grazing the web. Let them build up– the important analysis and survey results that keep you abreast.

  2. Develop new antenna. It’s been said that “leaders are readers” and I’m continually amazed at how well informed the innovative leaders I meet each year are on a broad range of topics. I first noticed this trait when interviewing 50 leading innovators back in the mid-80s. I’d go out to interview them and they’d start interviewing me! They are, as I noted in Winning the Innovation Game, like vacuum cleaners sucking in the latest trends. They avail themselves to opposing points of view and alternate perspectives. They ingest a wide-ranging number of surveys and reports. But they also get out there to see for themselves, to experience, to press the flesh. They travel extensively and actively question customers, suppliers, industry luminaries, and experts. They are alert to change at all times and notice small details that might easily be overlooked. Suggestion: Do more aggressive “front line observational” research, and ask questions wherever you go.

  3. Use social media as an early warning system. The field of prediction is ripe for reinvention, and that’s exactly what’s going on these days behind the scenes. According to the Wall Street Journal, predicting the future is about to become “embarrassingly easy,” as prediction algorithms– the fruits of the big data revolution– become so widespread that conventional forecasting methods come off as oh so 20th century. Dataminr is a six year old startup that applies advanced analytics to the entire Twitter “fire hose” to detect events likely to move the market. Already, 75 financial clients, including big investment banks and hedge funds, are subscribers. More and more companies are paying attention to Twitter, and to potential wisdom of the crowd forecasting techniques that are possible from this data set. “It’s pretty hard to come up with industries that would be happy knowing later, less and not everything,” said Ted Bailey, Dataminr’s CEO. According to Fortune, Dataminr revealed preliminary reports of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal three days before its stock price plummeted 30 percent. The Twitterverse erupted 45 minutes before the Associated Press tweeted about the Paris attacks. Question: how can you and your organization tap social media as an adjunct to your early warning system?

  4. Recalibrate your forecasting skills. University of Pennsylvania professor Philip Tetlock wants to know what makes some people better than others at seeing into the future. With funding from DARPA, Tetlock and his team have been hosting forecasting tournaments in order to identify what separates good forecasters from the rest. In these competitions, thousands of everyman prognosticators volunteer to answer roughly 500 questions on various national security topics, from the probably movement of Syrian refugees to the near term stability or instability of the Eurozone. In his book Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, co-authored by Peter Scoblic, Tetlock reports that the tournaments identified a small group of people who generated forecasts that, when averaged, beat the crowd by well over 50 percent in each of the tournament’s four years. How did they do it and whence are their powers? Turns out these adept forecasters buried among us are: philosophically cautious and humble, comfortable with numbers but not always math whizzes; pragmatic and capable of considering diverse points of view, and open minded. They are intellectually curious and enjoy puzzles and mental challenges. Key takeaways: if people feel they will be held accountable for their views they tend to avoid cognitive pitfalls such as overconfidence and a common failure to update beliefs in response to new evidence. Lesson: with effort, we can all improve our forecasting abilities. Tetlock’s research suggests basing forecasts on facts and logic, and being alert to personal bias and guessing. His research stresses the need to think in terms of probabilities and recognize that everything is uncertain except history.

  5. Take action on trends. Although Blackberry’s co-CEOs watched Apple announce the iPhone in 2007, they dismissed it as a niche product. They didn’t consider it again for another six months, losing valuable time. Even a cursory look at disrupted companies shows that their leaders were vaguely aware of the threat to their business model. They waited too long, then  mounted halfhearted responses to the threat. It’s natural human tendency to want to delay action till others have gone ahead and paved the way. But the advantage that comes to those that spot trends early is that we take early action. We alter our processes, we change our business model. We diversify. We enter new markets, whether adjacent or in new territories.

Read Robert’s blogs here.

The Best Leaders Are Constant Learners

Free photo pixabayI completely agree with the notion that leaders must always be learning new things. If a leader is not learning, he or she is not leading – and certainly not innovating.

Of course there are many ways to continually feed your mind: reading, seminars, online courses, going back to school, etc.  How are you feeding your mind, and what have you learned this week? Here’s something to consider:

To find their way in societal shifts, leaders cannot rely on static maps, nor can they hope to manage complexity through fixating on the details. To do so would be to fall into the trap described by Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares in their 1946 short story “On Exactitude in Science,” in which empire cartographers draw up a map so detailed – the scale is a mile to a mile – that it ends up covering the whole territory and leads to the downfall of the empire. It’s a story of absurdity and unintended consequences, surely two things leaders today can appreciate.

Reinvention and relevance in the 21st century instead draw on our ability to adjust our way of thinking, learning, doing and being. Leaders must get comfortable with living in a state of continually becoming, a perpetual beta mode. Leaders that stay on top of society’s changes do so by being receptive and able to learn. In a time where the half-life of any skill is about five years, leaders bear a responsibility to renew their perspective in order to secure the relevance of their organizations.

As we attempt to transition into a networked creative economy, we need leaders who promote learning and who master fast, relevant, and autonomous learning themselves. There is no other way to address the wicked problems facing us. If work is learning and learning is the work, then leadership should be all about enabling learning. In a recent Deloitte study, Global Human Capital Trends 2015, 85% of the respondents cited learning as being either important or very important. Yet, according to the study, more companies than ever report they are unprepared to address this challenge.

Read the rest here.

Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy

This is an inspiring article, and challenges all of us to think outside our innovation box:

https://hbr.org/2012/09/bringing-science-to-the-art-of-strategy/ar/1
Many managers feel they are doomed to weigh the futile rigor of ordinary strategic planning processes against the hit-or-miss creativity of the alternatives. We believe the two can be reconciled to produce creative but realistic strategies. The key is to recognize that conventional strategic planning is not actually scientific. Yes, the scientific method is marked by rigorous analysis, and conventional strategic planning has plenty of that. But also integral to the scientific method are the creation of novel hypotheses and the careful generation of custom-tailored tests of those hypotheses—two elements that conventional strategic planning typically lacks. It is as though modern strategic planning decided to be scientific but then chopped off essential elements of science.

The approach we’re about to describe adapts the scientific method to the needs of business strategy. Triggered by the emergence of a strategic challenge or opportunity, it starts with the formulation of well-articulated hypotheses—what we term possibilities. It then asks what would have to be true about the world for each possibility to be supported. Only then does it unleash analysts to determine which of the possibilities is most likely to succeed. In this way, our approach takes the strategy-making process from the merely rigorous (or unrealistically creative) to the truly scientific. (See the exhibit “Seven Steps to Strategy Making.”)

Rad the entire article at Harvard Business Review:

Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy

This is an inspiring article, and challenges all of us to think outside our innovation box:

https://hbr.org/2012/09/bringing-science-to-the-art-of-strategy/ar/1
Many managers feel they are doomed to weigh the futile rigor of ordinary strategic planning processes against the hit-or-miss creativity of the alternatives. We believe the two can be reconciled to produce creative but realistic strategies. The key is to recognize that conventional strategic planning is not actually scientific. Yes, the scientific method is marked by rigorous analysis, and conventional strategic planning has plenty of that. But also integral to the scientific method are the creation of novel hypotheses and the careful generation of custom-tailored tests of those hypotheses—two elements that conventional strategic planning typically lacks. It is as though modern strategic planning decided to be scientific but then chopped off essential elements of science.

The approach we’re about to describe adapts the scientific method to the needs of business strategy. Triggered by the emergence of a strategic challenge or opportunity, it starts with the formulation of well-articulated hypotheses—what we term possibilities. It then asks what would have to be true about the world for each possibility to be supported. Only then does it unleash analysts to determine which of the possibilities is most likely to succeed. In this way, our approach takes the strategy-making process from the merely rigorous (or unrealistically creative) to the truly scientific. (See the exhibit “Seven Steps to Strategy Making.”)

Rad the entire article at Harvard Business Review: